World

Felix Tshisekedi: Opposition leader named winner in DR Congo poll

Felix Tshisekedi: Opposition leader named winner in DR Congo poll

The son of late opposition leader Etienne, who pursued the presidency for many years, he startled Congolese shortly before the election by breaking away from an opposition effort to unite behind a single candidate. "Ridiculous", he said. "These results have nothing to do with the truth of the polls".

The country is in flux over a thrice-delayed presidential vote, with the announcement of official results now postponed, stoking suspicions of rigging.

The choice fuelled accusations that Kabila - concerned about possible retribution - would use Shadary to protect his interests after the vote.

On November 11, Tshisekedi joined six other opposition leaders to rally behind a single unity candidate, Martin Fayulu, to take on Kabila's handpicked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Releasing untrue results would be considered a "constitutional coup d'etat", said Carbone Beni, coordinator of the Filimbi movement, calling on other African nations to make sure the people's vote is respected.

The election has been beset by significant delays of more than two years as many Congolese people anxious President Joseph Kabila would try to cling to power.

The statements by UDPS opposition party secretary-general Jean-Marc Kabund appeared to go against electoral regulations that say only Congo's electoral commission can announce election results.




Now Congo faces a new leader who is little known after spending many years in Belgium and living in the shadow of his outspoken father. Earlier, he said that the results were "not negotiable" and that election officials should not "disguise the truth".

The election in the DRC had been more than two years in the making.

Tshisekedi's camp, which says it expects to win, said on Tuesday that it had met with Kabila's representatives to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, although Kabila's camp denied any such meetings had occurred. Western pressure likely has little effect, however, as Congo's government has rejected what it calls interference and expelled the European Union ambassador days before the vote. SYMOCEL, a group of Congolese civil society organizations which deployed 20,000 election observers, said in a report on Tuesday there had been major irregularities at the results-compilation centers, with numerous cases registered in Shadary's home province of Maniema. But one Congolese election observer group, Symocel, on Tuesday reported "major irregularities" including the disappearance of envelopes containing results from almost 120 polling stations in Kinshasa, an opposition stronghold. Mr Tshisekedi himself has acknowledged talks with the ruling party to prepare a transition of power.

Electoral commission president Corneille Nangaa has said authorities were aware that "this process has always been surrounded by distrust".

Congolese police take up position around the electoral commission building in Kinshasa, Congo, Wednesday Jan. 9, 2019.

Nangaa said that, instead, the results announcement would be delayed until "next week", claiming that around half of the votes remained uncounted.


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